A new approach for defining the conservation status of early Republican architecture, case study : primary school buildings in İzmir

Kul, Fatma Nurşen
International discussions on the conservation of the twentieth-century architectural heritage emphasize the diversity of the whole of the built environment of the entire century, rather than limiting consideration to canonic examples of the architectural historiography during the identification and assessment of the properties to be conserved. In contrast to this international holistic and inclusive approach, the approach to the identification and assessment of the properties in Turkey has in general been selective and exclusive. The early Republican architectural heritage of Turkey is defined through canonical examples drawn from the architectural historiography. On the other hand, more modest, anonymous examples, which constitute the great majority of the built environment of the period, are excluded from conservation status. The main argument of this dissertation is that the current exclusive approach, which selects only some important properties for conservation according to their physical characteristics, is far from understanding the political, institutional and social transformations of the early Republican period, as well as the role of architecture in this transformation. On the basis of this idea, a new assessment approach is proposed in this dissertation which could enable to gain conservation status to the whole diversity of early Republican architecture including more modest examples as well as the canonical ones. Contrary to the current exclusive approach which assesses the end product of a process according to its physical characteristics, the proposed approach is inclusive, taking into consideration the formation and usage processes with all their participating meanings and values and considering these processes along with the final physical form of the building itself. The proposed new approach is tested here on the specific case of the primary school buildings of Izmir, the great majority of which are currently remain out of conservation status due to their rather modest physical qualifications. The dissertation concludes that these buildings are an integral part of the education policies of the early Republican period, of the cultural and social transformations informed by these policies, and of the role of architecture in this process, and that these buildings are the tangible evidences of the meanings and values of this formation process. It then goes on to reveal the necessity of understanding the formation process through extensive research in order to be able to incorporate these meanings and values into the assessment phase.


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Citation Formats
F. N. Kul, “A new approach for defining the conservation status of early Republican architecture, case study : primary school buildings in İzmir ,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.